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One page business plan: What to include and how to get started

May 6, 2019 | 4 minutes read | Entrepreneurship

Writing a business plan is a crucial step to starting or expanding your operations, but you don’t have to follow a traditional format. Developing a comprehensive business plan is useful if you’re seeking funding, but it’s also smart to write a shorter version, too. Enter: the one page business plan.

A one page business plan offers a broader, more approachable overview of your business.

For newer businesses, a one-page plan can serve as a starting point for fine-tuning ideas and creating an in-depth business plan later on.

For established businesses, a one page business plan is an easy way to document changing strategies and update board members and senior staff on new goals. A one-page plan can also act as an elevator pitch or fact sheet to pique the interest of potential investors and lenders.

In any case, distilling your business’ mission and goals into one page forces you to reevaluate your ideas and priorities. This can ultimately help you make smarter decisions and run a more efficient operation.

To write an effective one page business plan, stick to the basics: discuss the market potential for your business and how your products or services will add value, explain your profit plan, and share your goals. Keep in mind that all the parts of a business plan should only be a few sentences, so it’s important to be clear and concise.

Here are the five components of a one page business plan template:

1. Summary

The summary provides a brief introduction to your business and what you hope to achieve. In addition to giving background information on your company, describe the services or products you offer and share your value propositions.

If you’ve been operating for a while, you may want to include a few company highlights or successes, like the fact that you hired five new employees last year or boosted sales by 10% from the previous quarter.

If your business is just getting off the ground, focus on explaining your vision and what makes your operation unique, whether it’s your commitment to 24/7 customer service or local product manufacturing.

2. Market analysis

One of the most critical parts of a business plan is the market analysis, which explores the industry you’re in and customers you’re trying to reach. Using brief sentences or bullet points with statistics, you need to show that there’s a demand for your products and services, then talk about how you’ll satisfy that demand.

Start by identifying and describing your target market. Think college students or women age 30 to 50, for example. Taking into account factors like age, occupation, interests, issues, buying habits, and market trends, explain how you’ll position your products or services to appeal to these potential customers.

Next, you’ll want to include a few statistics or research notes about your industry and competitors, and explain how you plan to differentiate your business from companies offering similar things.

Learn how to conduct your own market research for your business>

3. Marketing and sales strategy

This part of your one page business plan summarizes how you’ll promote your business and convince customers to act. Start by sharing your business’ main marketing challenge. Do you have a difficult time getting traffic to your site, choosing which platforms to invest in, or converting leads to sales?

Your summary should explain in broad terms how you plan to address your marketing hurdles, whether that means increasing your marketing budget, adopting Google Analytics, or eliminating a platform that has little success.

If you have space, consider giving an overview of your sales funnel here, listing key details and distribution channels for each step—from awareness to action. Make sure you include a sentence or two that clarifies why you chose the particular marketing methods you listed.

Put together a cohesive marketing strategy for your business with our comprehensive guide>

4. Pricing and profit strategy

The point of this section is to demonstrate your business’ profit potential. Talk about your pricing strategy first: What do you need to charge to create a high-quality product or service that helps you attract customers and stay competitive? What’s more, how will those prices help you turn a profit after accounting for operational and production-related expenses?

This is a good area to share your business’ profit and loss numbers from last year. If your revenue exceeded what you spent, you can talk about what you did that was successful and how you hope to build on that momentum. If, however, your numbers show that you spent more than you earned, explain how you plan to change your approach going forward to become profitable.

If you don’t have financial data to pull from, include your six-month sales forecast and projected cash flow instead.

Set your pricing while protecting your profits>

5. Goals

In the final section of your one page business plan, list your most pressing or significant business goals. Do you want to acquire a certain number of email subscribers by the end of the quarter, for example, launch your first product in the next six months, or cut operational expenses by 15% in the next year?

For each goal you share, include a sentence or two that explains what steps you’ll take to carry it out, how you’ll measure your progress, and how you’ll overcome problems that occur. Mentioning potential obstacles is a good segue into discussing any funding, equipment, or hiring needs you might have. You might need to double your inventory to satisfy high customer demand during peak season, for example, which will require extra working capital.

Keep in mind that you’ll probably need a longer, more detailed business plan if you’re seeking funding, but a one-page version can help you get started.

Keep updating your one page business plan

The best part of a one page business plan is that it’s easy to adjust. Aim to keep revising and updating your plan as your strategies, budget, and priorities change. You can also tweak your business plan outline depending on what you want to emphasize. You can also tailor your one page business plan based on your target audience (i.e., potential funders, new employees, etc.).

To get started, check out these tools that will help you generate a one page business plan template of your own:

  • LivePlan is a business plan writing software that guides you through the process of writing your perfect business plan.
  • BPlans provides free business plan templates and resources for writing your own plan.
  • The Small Business Administration has a business plan template you can use.
  • Microsoft Office has countless stylish business plan templates to choose from.

Use a one page business plan to set yourself up for success

If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of writing a business plan, start with a simple one page version. A one-page business plan is a perfect entrée into business plan writing. Plus, it’s an easy, effective way to clarify your ideas and goals no matter what stage your business is in.

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